Researchers from Spain recently investigated the role of Doppler ultrasound in the first trimester in predicting preterm delivery. The investigative findings were published in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Cervical length and a Doppler image of the uterine artery were taken between 11 and 13.6 weeks gestation. More than 3,400 women pregnant with singletons were included n the study. Transvaginal scans were used for measurement purposes. Researchers excluded iatrogenic births leaving 3,310 study participants.

While researchers were unable to make a connection between cervical length, uterine artery images, and preterm delivery, there did appear to be a connection between smoking, previous preterm delivery and future risk of preterm delivery. Women who smoke and have a history of preterm delivery (as little as one pregnancy) may be at increased risk of future preterm delivery.

Source: Parra-Cordero M, Sepúlveda-Martínez A, Rencoret G, Valdés E, Pedraza D, Muñoz H. Is there a role for cervical assessment and uterine artery Doppler performed during the first trimester of pregnancy as a screening test for spontaneous preterm delivery? Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Mar 21. doi: 10.1002/uog.12465.

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